Villa D’Este

"The precise location of Heaven on hearth has never been established but it may very well be right here" Pullitzer Prize winner Herb Caen, 1970.
How the Stage was Set HISTORY IN BRIEF 1568: An Italian cardinal built the Villa Garrovo on the shores of Lake Como. 1815: Caroline of Brunswick bought the property and renamed it Villa d'Este. 1873: Cardinal Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio transformed Villa d'Este into a luxury hotel. 2000: The Villa d'Este reopened after an extensive renovation. HISTORY IN DETAIL 1568 : Tolomeo Gallio Cardinal of Como built a Villa named Garrovo as his private residence. Designed by the local architect Pellegrino Tibaldi, this remains the main building today and is known as the Cardinal's building. 1600s: The Villa Garrovo was widely renowned for its splendour. The Sultan of Marocco allegedly travelled to Cernobbio with the sole purpose of visiting it. 1700s: A ballerina nicknamed “Pelusina” became proprietor of the villa. She had fallen in love with and married Marquis Bartolomeo Calderara, a renowned playboy. She was never accepted by Milanese society since it was scandalous in those days for a nobleman to marry a commoner. 1800s: After being owned by a ballerina, the villa passed into the hands of a Napoleonic general, Dominico Pino. 1905: Countess Vittoria Pino invited Napoloeon to stay and set aside an apartment on the ground floor for the Emperor, decorating it in silk and brocades. Unfortunately Napoleon never showed up and today the room remains in its original state and is today used for private banquets. 1815: The widowed Countess Pino sold Villa del Garrovo to Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821), estranged wife of England's heir, the Prince Regent. She renamed it New Villa d'Este to differentiate it from the Villa d'Este at Tivoli 1856: The trompe l’oeil Queen’s Pavilion was built in honour of the tragic Caroline of Brunswick. The first plan was to launch it as a spa and its first name was “Hotel de la Reine d’Angleterre”. It had 31 rooms. Carolin was much loved by the locals but led a lavish life, falling into debt and having to leave the Villa d'Este in the hands of her creditors. She eventually managed to pay her debts to get it back, but she would die heart broken. 1868: Empress Maria Feodorowna, wife of the Russina Tzar, rented Villa d’Este for 2 months, but she liked it so much that she stayed for 2 years. 1873: Cardinal Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio transformed Villa d'Este into a luxury hotel. 1925: The hotel appeared in "The Pleasure Garden", the first ever Hitcock movie. 1929: The first “Concorso d’Eleganza” took place at the hotel in the same year that BMW automobile production started. This exhibition of cars still takes place today. 1960s: Hotelier Marc Droulers created the Sporting Club and the floating swimming pool on the lake. 1988-92: The Hollywood Festival took place at Villa d’Este, bringing the likes of Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, June Allison, Joseph Cotton, Claire Trevor and many others to the hotel. 1994: While renovating the hotel, workmen discovered lost 18th century frescoes, which now take pride of place at the hotel. 2000: The hotel reopened in its current guise.
imageDuke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Nick Hilton, Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, Aristotele Onassis and Maria Callas, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, Madonna and Guy Ritchie , Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. Royal guests include King Leopold of Belgium, King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy, Queen Beatrice of Holland, Queen Sonia of Norway, Prince Ranieri of Monaco. Other VIPS include Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairba,nks, Greta Garbo, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Glenn Ford, Rod Steiger, Jane Russell, Kim Novak, Joan Fontaine, Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Zsa-Zsa Gabor, Esther Williams, Mickey Rooney, Charlton Heston, Rossano Brazzi, Donald Sutherland, , Anthony Perkins, Dirk Bogarde, Marcello Mastroianni, Ernest Borgnine, Sylvester Stallone, Liv Ullmann, Lynn Redgrave, Eddie Murphy, Robert Alda, Mel Gibson, Olympia Dukakis, Sharon Stone, Robin Williams, Matt Dillon, Bette Midler, Charly Sheen, Liza Minnelli, Adrien Brodie, Geena Davis, Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro, George Clooney, Anita Baker, Jon Bon Jovi, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Ricky Martin, Kylie Minogue, Ronan Keating, Josè Carreras, Josephine Baker, Sir Paul Smith, Bill Blass, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Oscar De La Renta and Lorenzo Riva, Paul McCarthy, Julio Iglesias, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Rod Steward, Elton John, Carly Simon, Giuseppe Verdi, Franz Lehar, Listz, Giacomo Puccini, Vincenzo Bellini, Igor Stranvinsky, Thomas Schippers, Bruce Springsteen, Marlene Dietrich, Gianni Agnelli, Nikki Lauder
imageIn 1873 the doors of Villa d’Este opened to the public and the first guest to show up was Giovanni Ricordi, the music publisher, who rented a whole floor of the Queen’s Pavilion for a season. Ricordi invited both Giuseppe Verdi, who he discovered and launched into the world of opera, and Giacomo Puccini to stay. The Ricordi family would come back every summer and to this day the floor of he Queen's Pavilion is called "Piano (floor) Ricordi". In 1936, when Edward VIII abdicated from the throne of England, the photo which made the rounds of the world, was taken at Villa d’Este. They both loved the hotel and returned several times as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. On every visit they would take a launch late in the evening and the Duchess would ecstatically exclaim to the boatman: “Same lake, same moon, same boat - how romantic!” The Villa d'Este has been mentioned in great literature, from Mark Twain and Edith Wharton to John le Carré.

The hotel appeared in Aldred Hitchcock’s very first movie, the 1925 production “The Pleasure Garden”. Since then it has provided the backdrop for several films, including “Mussolini’s Last Days” with Rod Steiger. It also featured in the US soap “The Bold and the Beautiful”.

152 Rooms
64 junior suites and 7 suites Suites
The Veranda Restaurant The Grill Restaurant, open from April through October. The Pool Bar. The Canova Bar (with an evening piano bar until midnight).
Feast on an excellent risotto by the hotel's famous executive chef Luciano Parolari, dubbed the "king of risotto." Parolari cooked for the late Pope John Paul II and given Elton's John's chef a crash course in how to make pasta. Niki Lauda used to love the Parolari's champagne risotto. One day before a competition he said: “Easy on the Champagne ... tomorrow I am racing !”
image25 acres of private park land, outdoor heated pool floating on the lake, a children’s pool, an indoor pool, 8 tennis courts (6 clay), 1 squash court, sauna and steam bath, jogging track, windsurfing, sailing, canoing and water skiing, several 18-hole golf courses are within a short drive of the property, among them the Villa d’Este Golf Club (privileges for hotel guests).
When dining at the Veranda, formal attire is required.
Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Villa D’Este
Country: Italy
City: Cernobbio
Opening date: 1873

Note from the Host

General Manager Danilo Zucchetti


Via Regina 40, Lago di Como
22012 Italy, Cernobbio

Tel: +39 031 3481
Fax: +39 031 348844

Google Map

Book a Room

Click on the link below to start your trip (no booking fees)!